Redemption for ‘hero’ Daniel Ricciardo at Monaco

Daniel Ricciardo celebrates winning the Monaco Grand Prix. (Reuters)
Updated 27 May 2018

Redemption for ‘hero’ Daniel Ricciardo at Monaco

  • Australian bounces back from heartache in 2016
  • Vettel finishes second, Hamilton third

MONACO: Daniel Ricciardo overcame chronic power problems to claim an emotional, cherished and redemptive triumph for Red Bull in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Two years after being deprived of victory by a bungled late pit stop in 2016, the big-smiling Australian led from pole to flag, on the way resisting pressure from Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari.
It was the Australian’s first Monaco victory, his second this season and the seventh of his career.
“You have done an amazing job there — you are our hero!,” said team chief Christian Horner. “I don’t know how you did that. Unbelievable. Payback!“
Ricciardo, whose engine power was reduced early in the race, came home 7.3 seconds clear of Vettel after 78 largely processional laps with championship leader Lewis Hamilton finishing third for Mercedes, all the leading drivers struggling with tire wear.

"Thank God that’s over," said Hamilton. "That was the most boring race I’ve ever taken part in."
He added: "Big congratulations to Red Bull and to Daniel. They did a great job and they were the quickest. We knew that would be the case."
Vettel said: "We had the pace, it was a tricky race. Daniel had the answers at all times. He was a bit stronger, we couldn't follow, and I was going through the tyres a bit quicker."
Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth in the second Ferrari ahead of fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes and Esteban Ocon, who was sixth for Force India.
Pierre Gasly finished seventh for Toro Rosso ahead of Nico Hulkenberg of Renault, Dutchman Max Verstappen in the second Red Bull, who had started 20th on the grid, and Carlos Sainz in the second Renault.
Ricciardo made a clean start and stayed in control throughout while at the back, his Red Bull team-mate Verstappen who had failed to qualify after crashing in final practice, made short work of the tail-enders around him on the opening lap.
He was up to 14th by lap nine when the leaders began to think about their pit stops, with a bold Hamilton going for an ‘under-cut’ on lap 12 to switch from the short-life ‘hypers’ to ‘ultras’ in a bid to make up time and pass Vettel, but after rejoining seventh behind Ocon, he had to work to regain places.
Ricciardo also pitted, on lap 17, and within a lap the original grid order was re-established thanks to all the leading group switching to new rubber.
On lap 28, Red Bull were given worse news when Ricciardo reported ‘losing power.’ Vettel was faster behind him by six-tenths and closing the gap.
"We can see what’s going on," Red Bull responded by radio. "You just need to keep it smooth. Keep it focused." "Yeh – but I’ve got no power though," he replied with 48 laps of the 78 to go.
By lap 32, Ricciardo’s lead was down to 1.2 seconds with Hamilton nine seconds adrift in third.
"Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help," said Ricciardo, whose superior chassis and smooth driving allowed him to fend off Vettel, struggling with tyre wear.
Tyre performance was clearly the most telling factor as Ricciardo hung on grimly ahead of Vettel and a frustrated, grumbling Hamilton, who variously described his tyres as bald, grained and worse, but continued to close on the leading duo.
By lap 50, they were separated by only 2.6 seconds.
Verstappen continued to supply the thrills and climbed to ninth, when he passed Sainz under late braking by running over the kerbs at the chicane. A fastest lap followed soon after.
With six laps remaining, the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was deployed after Monegasque Charles Leclerc suffered a brake failure in the tunnel and could not avoid driving his Sauber into the rear of New Zealander Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso as he braked for the chicane. Both men escaped unhurt.

Results

1. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Red Bull) 1hr 42min 54.807sec)

2. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) at 7.336sec

3. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 17.013

4. Kimi Räikkönen (FIN/Ferrari) 18.127

5. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 18.822

6. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Force India) 23.667

7. Pierre Gasly (FRA/Toro Rosso) 24.331

8. Nico Hülkenberg (GER/Renault) 24.839

9. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 25.317

10. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Renault) 1:09.013

11. Marcus Ericsson (SWE/Sauber) 1:09.864

12. Sergio Pérez (MEX/Force India) 1:10.461

13. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas) 1:14.823

14. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL/McLaren) 1 lap

15. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Haas) 1 lap

16. Sergey Sirotkin (RUS/Williams) 1 lap

17. Lance Stroll (CAN/Williams) 2 laps

18. Brendon Hartley (NZL/Toro Rosso) 8 lps,

19. Charles Leclerc (MON/Sauber) 8 laps,


Thiem into ATP Finals semis as Djokovic and Federer face shootout

Updated 4 min 49 sec ago

Thiem into ATP Finals semis as Djokovic and Federer face shootout

  • Austrian fifth seed took fight to the world No. 2, recovering from losing the first set to triumph

LONDON: Dominic Thiem produced a scintillating display of attacking tennis to beat Novak Djokovic and qualify for the last four at the ATP Finals on Tuesday, leaving the Serbian facing a shootout against Roger Federer.

In the standout match so far at London’s O2 Arena, the Austrian fifth seed took the fight to the world No. 2, recovering from losing the first set to triumph 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5)

Earlier, Federer put himself back in the mix at the end-of-season event with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 win against Italian debutant Matteo Berrettini in their round-robin clash.

Federer and Djokovic will face off on Thursday in a repeat of this year’s Wimbledon final to determine who else will progress from Group Bjorn Borg.

Thiem was forced to play high-stakes tennis against the 16-time Grand Slam winner, taking the breath away with some of his inside-out forehands and single-handed backhands

Forced to play at his limit, he hit 50 winners compared with Djokovic’s tally of 27 but also racked up 44 unforced errors.

“This was really one of these special matches, what I’ve practiced all my life for, all my childhood for,” Thiem said.

“Really epic one in an amazing atmosphere, beating a legend of our game. And also I’ve qualified for the semifinals, which is the best.

“Coming back from 1-4 (down in the deciding tie-break) was a little bit of luck, but it was an unbelievable match and one I’ll never forget. Novak is the best player in the world and I had to do something special.”

In a captivating first set the players swapped a break apiece but Djokovic, a five-time ATP Finals champion, edged the tie-break.

Undaunted, Thiem broke his opponent at the first opportunity in the second set and, with Djokovic’s error count climbing, went on to level the match.

Thiem also drew first blood in the decider but cracked in the sixth game as Djokovic levelled the match and appeared to have engineered a switch in momentum.

The Austrian successfully challenged at 30-30 in the 10th game after his forehand was ruled out, preventing a match point for Djokovic and he toughed it out to level at 5-5.

He then broke Djokovic to love to earn a chance to serve for the match but stumbled and the decider went to a tie-break.

Still the drama was not finished. Thiem slipped to 4-1 down but battled back to win it on his second match point when Djokovic dumped a forehand into the net.

Third seed Federer had put himself under the cosh by losing his opening round-robin match to Thiem. The six-time champion was not at his fluent best on Tuesday but ultimately had too much for his Italian opponent.

The Swiss upped his game to take the first set tie-break comfortably and broke immediately at the start of the second set to leave the big-serving Berrettini with too much to do.

Federer was asked after his win against Berrettini whether his defeat to Djokovic at Wimbledon had left emotional or mental scars.

“We’ll find out, but I think it’s all flushed away from my side,” said the Swiss.

“A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.”

Djokovic is hunting a sixth ATP Finals title to pull level with Federer’s record and is also seeking to pip Rafael Nadal to the year-end number one ranking.

On Monday, top seed Nadal lost his opener in Group Andre Agassi to defending champion Alexander Zverev while Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Daniil Medvedev.